Grizzlies Thunder Basketball

Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, left, goes against Memphis guard Ja Morant last March in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder have a new franchise centerpiece, and it’s clear they want him around for the long haul.

The organization reportedly come to an agreement with point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to a five-year, $172 million extension, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The contract does not include a player option in the last year, thus keeping Gilgeous-Alexander under contract for the next six seasons.

Gilgeous-Alexander is currently in the last year of his rookie deal.

The agreement is clear sign the Thunder are committed to building around the fourth-year guard, who they acquired as a part of the 2019 trade that sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Gilgeous-Alexander has performed well in his two seasons with the Thunder. Before missing half of last season with a plantar fascia tear, he averaged 23.7, 4.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists on 50.8% shooting, including 41.8% from beyond the 3-point arc in 35 games.

The Thunder finished with the second-worst record in the league at 22-50, but went 16-19 with Gilgeous-Alexander in the lineup.

Heading into draft night last Thursday, there were rumors the Thunder were looking to trade Gilgeous-Alexander for a top-three pick. After the draft, Presti affirmed that signing Gilgeous-Alexander to an extension has always been the organization’s priority.

“At the end of the season, I said we’re really looking forward to having a conversation with Shai when we have that opportunity [to sign an extension],” Presti said. “Nothing’s changed in that respect. I’m still really looking forward to that. I think what I’ve learned and I think all of our players understand is that we live in the age of social media and people are going to manufacture things.”

Gilgeous-Alexander will return as the centerpiece to one of the youngest rosters in the league with some new faces in the coming season.

The Thunder took Josh Giddey with the sixth pick, an Australian-born point guard who was named the Rookie of the Year in the Australia’s National Basketball League last season.

Giddey has an all-around game, averaging 10.9 points, 7.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals in the NBL, and with the Thunder rebuilding, the 18-year-old will likely have plenty of opportunities to see how he fits next to Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Thunder may look to move Gilgeous-Alexander off the ball more next season, with Giddey running the offense. But Gilgeous-Alexander will run the offense at times, too, and Giddey will need to improve his outside shooting — 29% shooting from behind the arc in the NBL — to fit in as seamlessly as possible.

The Thunder also drafted Tre Mann with the 18th pick, a shooting guard who averaged 16 points over 24 starts at Florida last season. By all metrics, Mann is more of a scorer than a facilitator, averaging 3.5 assists last season.

Mann also shot 40% from 3-point land on 4.7 attempts, and the Thunder will likely play him off the ball and use him as an outside scoring threat next to Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey.

The team also acquired Jeremiah Robinson-Earl after trading the 34th and 36th picks to the New York Knicks in exchange for the 32nd pick. The co-Big East player of the year averaged 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds last season with Villanova.

Tip-ins

Trae Young signs 5 year extension with Hawks: The former Norman North point guard will be in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.

Trae Young has agreed to a five-year, $207 million extension with the Atlanta Hawks, per Wojnarowski, keeping Young in Atlanta through the 2026-2027 season.

Young averaged 25.3 points and 9.4 assists last season and led the Hawks to an Eastern Conference Finals berth last season.

Thunder agrees to two-way contract for Aaron Wiggins: The Thunder’s 55th pick in last week’s draft will begin the season on a two-way contract, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.

Wiggins averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his junior season at Maryland.

Mike Muscala agrees to return to OKC: The floor-spacing big man is returning for his third season with the Thunder.

Per Wojnarowski, Muscala and the Thunder agreed to a 2-year, $7 million contract. Muscala averaged a career-high 9.7 points on 37% 3-point shooting last season in 35 appearances.

Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at jesse@normantranscript.com or at 405-366-3580.

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